Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shomer Negiah;To Be Or Not To Be

At this point in my blogs existence I'm convinced I spend most of my time talking to myself.Nevertheless I would like to throw a question out there and maybe by some freak occurrence Ill get a few responses.Let me preface it by clarifying, its more of a moral dilemma than a question.What do normal people do when meeting members of the opposite sex?The reason I ask is because as people who occasionally read my blog should know I'm presently in Boston undergoing radiation, that being the case I meet doctors,nurses,technicians, social workers,receptionists, and random people, who as luck would have it are all female.I am not going to begin confessing all past, present, and future sins but suffice it to say I have in the past had physical contact with the opposite sex.For some reason probably having to do with hormones and desire overpowering 'Jewish guilt' you don't tend to put a lot of thought into the fact that you're having illegal contact.In a case such as mine where the contact is not sexual strangely enough I feel more guilty shaking hands every time I meet people. To not shake their hands is weird having to start explaining your whole religious philosophy and doesn't make sense because I have contact with them soon anyways when they help me into the frame and onto the table and (not literally) screw me onto the table. I also have a strange philosophy of trying to avoid making a chillul Hashem, I don't know if a chassidac family seeing me shake a woman's hand in the waiting room (as happened last week)is better or worse than my other seemingly conflicting philosophy of trying to show people that not all religious Jews are stuck up morons (I'm pretty sure that's only a justification in my warped mind) Between my constant fatigue, headaches, and the Vicodin, I am having trouble working this out so if anybody has any input about what I should do or what they normally do, share.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Adar!!

In the Yeshiva I was first in when I came to Israel we had a custom of inebriating ourselves every night of Adar until Purim (it was a b*tch in a year with two Adars).Now that I'm slightly more mature than that and because the various medications I'm on don't mix well with alcohol, I rarely drink anymore.Which is why I would like to suggest an alternative.In honor of Adar and coincidentally a day after the use of medical marijuana was legalized in the New Jersey Senate,I think everyone should crack out their pipes, bowls, bongs, and papers and like Timothy Leary said "Turn on, tune in, and drop out".

Monday, February 23, 2009

Coffee,Muggings and Philosophy

Once, a few years ago during the time I spent wandering around Israel,I found myself in Tel Aviv one night where I was mugged.Kind of.I'm not sure if its still considered a mugging if you never actually give away your money.I ignored them and acted as if I didn't understand what they wanted and kept walking until they gave up on following me.Afterwards on my way back to Jerusalem I thought about what would have happened if I had actually lost all my money and valuables.I would be stuck in a foreign city with no money to pay for transportation back, and probably no cell phone to call someone for help.The only solution I thought of would be to sit in front of the Central Bus Station and tell people my sob story and hopefully get enough money to leave.But you always hear people with all sorts of sob stories why they need money and who ever believes them.

I was reminded of this recently on my way to picking up my afternoon caffeine fix. There was a man outside Dunkin Donuts who claimed his car was towed and needed money to get it from the impound lot.He claimed to be a working man who just didn't have the money on him, the problem was, he looked like a working family man and therefore, believable. I didn't give him any money because I'm a little gullible in these matters and sometimes overcompensate but the whole night I was thinking of him and felt bad for him.That was when I was reminded of my near predicament and put myself in his position and began to really feel bad for him.If only people could have their very own lie detectors

R' Nachman of Breslov fame who contrary to popular belief is more profound than one would think from seeing the dancing speed freaks you see around Israel, once said something interesting. He said its better to be naive and fall for everything than not to believe anything including the truth when it happens upon you.He said it in regard to religion and spirituality but I wonder if it should be applied to the mundane also. It would probably be better to fall for everything even the occasional scam than to once ignore somebody who honestly needs your help.You never know one day it might even be you who receives the help.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wrong Direction?

When youre really bored and have medication handy to control your blood pressure,I strongly recommend reading the wisdom that sprouts forth from the genetic malfunctios who comment on the jewish news websites (such as yeshivah world and vosizneias).I sincerely hope those people are not reproducing.

Yesterday,while waiting for an appointment my brother showed me a story about this new Kosher GPS theyre coming out with.Somebody whose parents were probebly related before they were married commented "I think the rabonim should get together & show true achdus and ban all other non kosher GPS".Seriously? Its bad enough we have people with minimal halachic knowledga coming out with new inventions (or more accurately,old inventions with a new twist)convincing people this is what God wants, if you dont buy this, its questionable if you can even be considered religious.But people actually fall for this?Do people think this constitutes Judaism?Me,in my innocence and niavety,first thought when I heard this that it only takes you to kosher locations (which I believe would actually be closer to what God wants)but alas no,the function which earns it its kosher status is the mans voice instead of a womans.Not to worry,nobody will have to cut the strip clubs out of their extracurriculaar schedule, now as long as you follow the directions given to you by a mans voice(possibely even in yiddish)God will love you.Is this where we are holding,a womans voice is enough to awaken all our deep,dark urges,our mission in life is to control?So much so that its absence will make a redicoulos product,kosher? Like my brother so beatufuly yet crudely put it,"if youre whacking off to the womans voice on the GPS you have much bigger problems that a kosher GPS cannot solve."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Wishlist

I know its been a few days since I last posted,but not to worry,I'm not dead yet.As some of you know I'm in the middle of undergoing radiation treatment,its going well,the only problem is, it causes fatigue and I can barely concentrate long enough to bang out a post.Today,during treatment I thought of something I think is pretty interesting.In the spiritual world we know there are all kinds of powers that can either be channeled towards good or for bad ((kabbalistic heebie jeebies and black magic is an example that comes to mind).I thought radiation is a good metaphor for that.Everybody knows radiation causes tumors yet they use it to kill tumors also, it just needs to be used in the right way.
Way back when I was first diagnosed, one of my main symptoms was total loss of vision in one eye and partial in the other.Thank God I got most of it back.In some of my subsequent surgeries,I knew the tumor grew back because I once again lost my vision.This most recent time after I noticed my waning vision I was disappointed,but not for the reason one might think.Since I was a kid I always dreamt of owning a motorcycle,I never thought it was to realistic but it was a nice thing to wish. One of my first thoughts after an MRI confirmed that the tumor was back was that now I will never be able to ride a motorcycle (people usually think I'm deep but I guess deep down I'm pretty shallow)Since my last surgery in the summer, I got most of my vision back once again,and I realized,why wait?If I want a motorcycle bad enough to be upset when I thought I would no longer be able to ride one,I should just get one now while I can still see.At the rate I'm saving my money though it can be a while until I have enough to even buy a tire,so if anybody has extra money and wants to buy me a present,I am not to proud to accept.These are pictures of the motorcycle I want,its called a Victory Hammer.

Once I'm posting things I want but will probably not be able to afford in my lifetime I should also mention the car I intend to buy if I rob a bank.Its a 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8.Once again, should anybody want to buy me one for any reason I promise not to complain.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Anti Socialism

Here I am back in Boston.Today was my first treatment,for those interested,it went pretty good,thank you for asking.While not technically cancer the treatment is considered cancer treatment (and because of the location and various other aspects it is considered cancerous-for further insight,go to medical school)this qualifies me to stay in a lodge run by the American Cancer Society for outpatients receiving cancer treatments.Its a really nice place,certainly nicer than some of the places Ive stayed during my years in Israel.Its almost as if there is nothing to complain about,but I will not let you down because I found something.Because of everybody there being a cancer patient or caregiver/family of a cancer patient there is a lot of camaraderie,socializing,support and whatever else it is normal people do in social situations.The problem is I am severely anti social.I try not to be rude,which is why last night I was stuck in the communal kitchen hearing about the complete medical history of someone who until a minute ago was a complete stranger(yes, pretty much like I do here on this blog)Most of the time so far I tried staying in my room but I'm bored out of my mind and eventually will have to join the fun,over six weeks of being here I'm going to need to start talking to people.I don't know how I'm going to manage that.I need something to break the ice,so if any of the many readers of this blog can overcome their fear of commenting and know any good ice breakers popular with cancer patients,,or cancer related humor(offensive is also welcome)please tell me.If all else fails I can always pretend I'm deaf.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Rape of the Taxpayers

For various reasons,most of which pertain to the conservation of my rapidly dwindling sanity,I try to avoid following the news too closely.Today,because of my confinement to a car for five hours(my contribution to global warming-anybody enjoying the unseasonably warm weather were enjoying on the east coast should probably thank me)and for lack of any other forms of entertainment,I listened to the radio.I'm not sure when this took place but I heard today that our very own comrade Messiah gave a speech where he warned all people benefiting from the rape of us taxpayers not to go to Las Vegas to spend the bailout money.Apparently one company (possibly more)decided instead to go to San Fransisco for some sort of getaway they were already planning.Does this not defeat the purpose?Was the point not for the intent purpose of avoiding wasteful spending?Last night for reasons not entirely known to me I found a similar story in which while intending to save money they missed the point and wasted money.....
"United Airlines has the distinction of being the only commercial airline to have operated Executive One, the designation given to a civilian flight on which the U.S. President is aboard. On 26 December 1973, then-President Richard Nixon flew as a passenger aboard a Washington Dulles to Los Angeles International flight. It was explained by his staff that this was done in order to conserve fuel by not having to fly the usual Boeing 707 Air Force aircraft; however, the 707 followed behind in case of emergency."
Is it just me,or is there something wrong with this?

On the topic of bailouts I thought of what I think is an appropriate analogy.Imagine you didnt have that much money(not to difficult for most people)and you lived in a place like where I live where every day there is a dinner,parlor meeting or Chinese auction raising money for what you believe to be a worthwhile cause,and you give a donation according to what you can barely afford.Later you find out,the money you sacrificed to donate they wasted on frivolous and excessive bullsh*t,something which you would never have done simply because you cannot afford it.Would you not have a strong uncontrollable urge to be violent,possibly even take a fatal course of action? These companies receiving our tax money are doing the same things.I think its normal to want to kill them.I also think we should.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Keeping Up With The Joneses

In my capacity as someone who does what I occasionally do,I often have the opportunity to review blueprints.Recently I saw the blueprints for what will eventually be a finished basement or as its called in Lakewood,the town of newlyweds,a newlywed apartment.What I found odd about this was the fact that it was a three bedroom apartment.Considering the fact that Orthodox society strongly frowns upon premarital sex and teenage pregnancies,I assume most newlyweds are childless.That being the case,what the hell does a newlywed couple need three bedrooms for?

Due to my chronic laziness I will not question whether they can afford it or not.Nor will I try to figure out how or why people are buying things if they cannot afford it,something which I strongly suspect is the chief cause of the economic crisis,like William Cobbett said regarding this"Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought poor".

What I do intend to address is this-Keeping up with the Joneses(or whatever the Jewish version of Jones is)Are people so dissatisfied with themselves,they feel the need to impress others by imitating the possessions they purchased to impress you?Are people so shallow?(don't answer that)I don't mean to be crude or offensive,but if the Nazis were to build concentration camps today they would have no trouble filling it,all they need is to convince one person to go and the rest of the town will gladly and mindlessly follow thinking this is the hottest new place to be.Wake up people!The Joneses are the same assholes and morons that you are.Why would you follow them? If you're so unhappy with yourself,suicide is a tried and tested solution,copying other imbeciles will not make you happier.Start thinking for yourself,start living for yourself.If the concept of thinking for yourself is to foreign or difficult for you,there is another idea from Quentin Crisp worth trying,he said "Keeping up with the Joneses was a full time job for my mother and father.It was not until many years later when I lived alone that I realized how much cheaper it was to drag the Joneses down to my level."

An Ode to my Sanity

I feel no pain
yet Im going slowly insane
I no longer think
yet Im two steps from the brink
I thought I was immune
from my destiny of ruin
I thought I was comfortably numb
I guess I was just plain dumb
Im being destroyed from the inside-out
by fear apprehension worry and doubt.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Just What We Need-More Labels

Out of sheer boredom (due to my sudden change of plans yesterday),I took the Orthodoxy Test that appears to be the current fad on blogs.I finally realized why I never seemed to fit in,in yeshivas and shuls I attended over the course of my short yet distinguished career as an Orthodox Jew.Turns out,I'm Huh!I'm not sure exactly what religious obligations this entails but at least until somebody thinks to capitalize on this new unspoken for sect of Judaism, there will be no dinners, parlor meetings,or membership dues.I'm actually relieved not to be stuck into one specific category,as there is no one specific category that I believe has all the answers.This is actually something I have prided myself on since I broke out of the mold,society tries to cram all unsuspecting youngsters into.I try learning from individuals I believed to be worthy,regardless of their religious affiliation,whether they promoted full day kollel for everybody or they God forbid said a prayer for the President and Israeli soldiers on shabbos.

Labeling people,is,I think,a large contributing factor in teens,children,and even adults abandoning Judaism.I know the test was only meant as something cute to occupy your time/mind and a potential conversation or blog starter,but what it represents is complete unadulterated evil.Why the hell would somebody,who for whatever reason doesn't fit into any molds or labels that Orthodox society in their ignorance and stupidity created, stay frum?You're not yeshivash,because....,you're not modern because......,on and on until there are no more labels for you to fit into until one day you had enough of being society's outcast and decide F*ck it I'll join a society where I can be valued as a person and not a label.The curious lack of any reference to labels in the Torah can be attributed to the fact that God,when he invented this trip intended it as a religion and not a filing cabinet of labels,but things veered way off course.This is a whole new topic which also bothers me and I will hopefully address it some other time.

While on the website,after my religious affiliation was determined,I took another test (I was still bored).I found out today that I am pretty cool,alas,not outrageously so.Oh well,I'm still relatively young and there is still time to become outrageously cool,should the need ever arise.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Upset With Boston.Again

Rarely,over my long association with the tumor living in my brain have I gotten angry.Some might say its good but the general consensus is that its mentally unhealthy (I guess that would explain a few things about my mental condition).Today that all changed because I am pissed.Well,to be honest,more like upset.If anybody reads this blog and if they recall I was supposed to go to Boston on Monday to begin radiation treatment,but they pushed me off until Thursday.What do you know they did it again.I was already on the way today when my mother called to say the hospital delayed it once again until next week Thursday (for now).

Really it shouldn't bother me so much and it wouldn't,if not for the fact that my life has kind of been on hold for years waiting until I was finished with this shit.To enhance understanding,let me give an example.Dating,every orthodox,single guy (who is not gay)wants to get married.Between losing my vision(one of the fun side effects) surgery,recuperation,deciding on what type of radiation to undergo,appointments,and now waiting to go to Boston,its been a year since I last dated.The same is going on with jobs and courses I want to take.It sucks.That's why its upsetting when it looks like its finally drawing to a close and I will soon be able to move on with my life,only to be delayed once more.

Although not as big a deal but it was also very anti-climatic.I packed everything I need for six weeks,clothing,computer,food,ipod,notebooks, I got myself in the proper frame of mind (dare I even say psyched?).All this,and I was back home an hour later.I don't know the exact definition of anti climatic,but I'm pretty sure this was.I'm not sure why I'm blogging about this (other than the age old problem of having nothing else to write about)but I cant imagine anybody would be uncomfortable or mind as it seems I'm the only person who reads this blog (despite the fact that I already know a lot of what it says here)so if anybody has something to say about this or about anything else for that matter,comment,please(wow pathetic,begging for comments)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sex-Ed In Beis Yaakov

For some reason Jewish schools have an aversion to preparing its students for the real world.I think that needs to be changed.I understand the difficulty in making too many changes simultaneously so I would like to suggest one change I believe to be of importance,to start with.Sex-Ed.Now before all the "frummies"get uptight and defensive,let me clarify.I am not referring to the'birds and the bees' as I believe most people are already familiar with that.I am referring instead to educating Yeshivah and Beis Yaakov students about interactions with members of the opposite sex.I am aware this is something the powers that be want to avoid for the simple reason that if they know how to interact,they will,something we want to avoid at all costs.Realistically we know there are times interacting cannot be avoided even for the most 'yeshivash'and'frum' is it worth them not knowing how to go about it?

Dating is a strong argument for my idea.People(usually the girls)constantly complain that the person they were set up with were ill equipped to talking to them and lacked the most basic etiquette (okay I admit this is lacking even during interaction with members of their own sex,maybe that will be my next project).Even the most frum boy or girl dates,shouldn't they be prepared?

This brings to mind a girl I used to know.She went to regular Beis Yaakovs and was a fairly frum girl although a little rebellious.Because of her rebellion and also due to the fact that she believed herself to be more with it and cool than she actually was,she occasionally drank and at times hung out with guys.This is always a dangerous combination but especially so for someone not familiar with the opposite sex.Countless times she called me to complain or to pick her up because she let some guy buy her drinks and she flirted and spoke to him for hours all the while him thinking he was going to get lucky tonight and getting pissed when she had enough and got up and left.I would explain to her how the mind of a horny male worked but she never seemed to understand.Countless awkward and mildly dangerous situations could have been avoided if she only would have learned in school that there is only one thing guys want and how to talk to them without them thinking they are going to get it.This is a bit different than the previous example but I think of equal importance.Should one argue and say we discourage flirting so why should we prepare for such scenarios I bring to your attention all the girls who were ever pulled over for speeding,how many tried flirting with the cop in the hopes of being let off easy?If the girls would know what they consider harmless talking may very well be in the cops eyes something entirely different,they might cool it or at least be prepared if he says something they deem inappropriate.